SP4805 Auto Aspect Ratio Switching?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Pat Frank, Jan 13, 2005.

  1. Pat Frank

    Pat Frank Stunt Coordinator

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    I've just recently bought an Infocus SP4805, and while I really love it, I can't help but notice that I'm having to constantly change aspect ratios depending on what I'm watching. All the newer DVDs seem to be 16:9 enhanced, but many of my older ones are not, and of course regular TV is not.

    I don't really mind switching all that much, but when I noted the fact that I was having to switch manually to a friend of mine who owns the older SP4800, he was surprised, saying that he thought his did the switching automatically.

    Am I just missing something here?
     
  2. John Whittle

    John Whittle Stunt Coordinator

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    My 4805 doesn't switch automatically either. I have a feeling that it has to do with the 480p scaling, but that's only a guess.

    My old JVC 55 inch crt set auto switches on it's s-video input between normal and 16:9 but I called infocus before I bought this and after going thru the methods my JVC used, the Tech told me that the 4805 didn't do it.

    I have no experience with the 4800, but I think you're better off with the 4805 over the 4800 because of the 16:9 chip and the faster wheel.

    John
     
  3. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    How would it switch automatically? As far as a video signal is concerned, an anamorphic image has the exact same number of pizels as a 4:3 image-- so how would it know how to format it? How could it tell the difference?

    -V
     
  4. Pat Frank

    Pat Frank Stunt Coordinator

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    I've no idea. I guess what you're saying makes sense, though.

    This is actually my first experience with 16:9 format. Are you basically saying that everyone has to do this switching business if they want to see things in the correct aspect ratio?
     
  5. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Well...

    The player itself can read flags and format things accordingly: For example I used a HTPC and left my projector on 16:9 display... the HTPC was able to automatically "windowbox" 4:3 material inside the 16:9 frame, and could even automatically zoom non anamorphic DVDs.

    Some of these features have also been integrated into stand alone DVD players... and technically connections like SCART can pass control data for aspect formatting (as might HDMI, I'm not sure).

    But, in short, yes you actually have to have some knowledge about the content you're trying to display and you need to choose the right mode. I've noticed in some circles there is quite a bit of grumbling about this type of thing, but I have never personally found it to be much of a hassle-- guess it all just clicked with me early on (in fact, my first post to the htf back in 1999 was about the very issue of how images were displayed on widescreen sets-- it's all be pretty smooth sailing for me since then).

    But I'm still curious about those of you who have claimed "auto switching" displays-- as I have heard this mentioned before (although never in manufacturers specs) and can't figure out how the TV would be able to know the difference between 4:3, anamorphic and non anamorphic letterbox-- since, in terms of the raw video signal, they would all have identical characteristics.

    -V
     
  6. Pat Frank

    Pat Frank Stunt Coordinator

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    I believe I understand now. I've seen the 4805 do that letterboxing-mode enlargement so my guess is that's what my friend was talking about with regard to his 4800. Always hard to communicate these things verbally.

    Thanks for the feedback!
     
  7. Dan Stone

    Dan Stone Stunt Coordinator

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    While I don't have the answer to what's needed to make it switch, I can tell you that the projector seems to know the difference between 16x9 and 4x3 as evidenced by a dialog box which will pop and say 'this program contains 4x3 content' when you are in 16x9 aspect mode.

    Like others, I wish that instead of it just telling me, that it would make the switch automatically, but perhaps I'm hoping for too much. In the bigger scope of things, it's a relatively minor annoyance to an otherwise great projector IMHO.
     
  8. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    I believe there's a flag, possibly in the vertical interval, that tells the TV if it's 16x9 or not. I still have a 4x3, but I will NOT buy a 16x9 that doesn't autoswitch. I was watching the DVD of "Greg The Bunny" on a 16x9 TV at a friend's house, and while the show was in 4x3 the menus were in 16x9, and since his TV doesn't autoswitch every time it went back to the menu they would show up squeezed in the middle.
    The Peter Gabriel videos DVD has a mixture of material in both 4x3 and 16x9, so it would really be a pain to have to manually switch at every song. I don't want to have to look at a stretched or squeezed picture and think "oh, guess this isn't 16x9" and hit a button. I guess it doesn't bother some people but it would drive me absolutely nuts. Does anyone have a list of TVs that do switch automatically? I had my eye on one TV I saw at a Sears store that was playing the "Bug's Life" DVD in 16x9, that disc has a 4x3 version on the same side so I brought the main menu up and had it show that version, and it came on stretched. I had to look for the manual adjustments on the TV to show it properly in the center with black bars on the sides. Then I had it go back to the 16x9 version and that came on squeezed in the middle of the screen and I had to manually switch it back. To me that's just unacceptable, as the album title goes Give me convenience or give me death! [​IMG]
    I remember the first DTS sound systems you had to manually select DTS for it to decode and then switch back for PCM (this was back in the laserdisc days before DVD), that would have driven me up the frickin wall!
     
  9. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    I would love to hear this too, as I have yet to see a single one. As mentioned before, I have seen many players which could do it, but not a display. A search on google for this feature revealed only DVD players which auto switched and displays using SCART to receive aspect information (oh and dscaler, a computer app that will actually detect letterbox bars and zoom non-anamorphic letterbox material).
     
  10. John Whittle

    John Whittle Stunt Coordinator

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    In the case of my old JVC 55 inch CRT set that auto switches, it does it with a signal on the s-video output from the DVD player. At one point a +5 volt was applied to the video signal and that was used by the set to trigger 16:9 Display. If you're playing a DVD in 16:9 and switch back to RF or to another video input the picture will automatically change to 4:3 and then back to 16:9 when you hit the DVD input.

    The only "hint" of this in the instruction book is a warning about using the S-video inputs with your camcorder that might automatically switch the set. Remember this set was sold back in 1995 and pre-dates DVDs. At the time only Toshiba and JVC [NV55BX] had widescreen sets in the US. Toshiba gave away one of the two 16:9 lasterdiscs with their set.

    Not all DVD players will output the switching signal (my Mintek 3-disc changer does not) but many do. The player reads the flags on the disc and puts out the logic signal on the s-video connector. The TV doesn't have component so there is no way for me to check if it would respond to that as well.

    It seems as though this is a feature that got "lost" along the way, although it's really nice when you have a DVD that has mixed aspect ratios on it (Meet Me in Saint Louis where all the menus as 16:9 or even the new Disney Cartoons that I got the other day--Chip 'n' Dale-- which had 16:9 menus and 4:3 program content).

    John
     
  11. James Phung

    James Phung Second Unit

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    I'm not too sure if the Infocus 4800 switches aspect ratio automatically... It's a 4:3 native projector at 800x600 while the 4805 is 16:9 native at 852x480. Your friend must be watching his dvds with his player set to tv aspect ratio of 4:3.
     
  12. Dan Stone

    Dan Stone Stunt Coordinator

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    Don't quite a few of the Sony TV's autoswitch? I know my brother's 4x3 Sony has an 'enhanced widescreen' mode (I may have the name of the feature slightly wrong) which collapses the raster to 16X9 when it detects an anamorphic signal. While my brother is not a videophile by any means, he was easily able to see the advantage of the 'enhanced widescreen' mode when I did an A-B demonstration for him on his set.
     
  13. MikeHerbst

    MikeHerbst Stunt Coordinator

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    I think some people can also mistake "auto input detect" for "auto aspect select".

    On my projector (Epson Home 10+) when I set the aspect ratio for any given input, its remembered even if I switch to a different input. I use component for DVD (16:9) and S-video for the Tivo (4:3).

    Whenever I fire up one or the other, the projector detects a signal on the input and switches to that input. This gives the illusion that it automatically switches aspect ratios since it switches back and forth between modes, but really its just switching inputs.

    I can configure the S-Vid input as 16:9 and the component as 4:3 and it will remember the settings and automatically switch back to them, but it doesn't know anything about the nature of the signal coming in...

    Now if I could just get my DVD player to automatically switch aspect ratios when I'm using my TV instead of the projector... [​IMG]
     
  14. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    I've seen the 4x3 40-inch Sony do this at a store, that was pretty cool but I think it'd be a step backwards at this point to get another 4x3 set that's the same size as what I've already got. I'll probably hold on to my Mitsubishi at least until the HD formats are out, hopefully they'll have everything straightened out by then. I'm afraid if I get a new TV now then the new players will have an output or something that it doesn't support- almost got screwed like that on my first DVD player when I didn't know the earlier models couldn't output the DTS tracks.
     

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